Youth Livestock Program
The 4-H Youth Livestock Program is the largest animal science project area enabling youth to develop their interest in beef cattle, sheep, and swine in their 4-H projects. Youth learn about selection, care, and feeding of livestock, animal health, and importance of good record keeping. Emphasis for these projects continues to be focused on life skill development.
This program offers competitions such as livestock judging and stockmen's contests as well as livestock shows at the county, district, and state levels.
- Event Schedule
- Clinics & Camps
- Conventions & Other Events
- Record Books
In compliance with Virginia Tech and VSU’s policy of canceling and/or postponing any youth events with 100 or more people, as well as any area, regional, district, or statewide events, the following Virginia Youth Livestock Events have been postponed:
All Regional Youth Cattle Working Contests
- Central VA – April 1st
- Shenandoah Valley – April 2nd
- Southern Piedmont – April 3rd
- SWVA – April 4th
- New River Valley – April 4th
State Youth Cattle Working Contest – April 17th
State 4-H/FFA Skillathon at VA Tech – April 9th
Youth Discussion Meet at the VA Beef Expo – April 17th
Youth Beef Challenge at the VA Beef Expo – April 18th
Virginia Junior Beef Roundup and All Associated Events – April 18 – 19th
Virginia Youth Poultry Convention and State 4-H/FFA Poultry Judging Contest – April 24th
Virginia Tech Livestock Judging Field Day – April 25th
Buffalo Gap High School YQCA – March 21st
Highland County YQCA – March 31st
Isle of Wight YQCA – April 8th
Clarke County YQCA – April 13th
Events will be rescheduled if at all possible, but the timeline for that process will depend on the COVID-19 status for Virginia, and the direction Virginia Cooperative Extension receives from Virginia Tech and VSU. We are disappointed in this turn of events, but value the health and wellbeing of our participants, families, faculty, and staff above all else. As this situation changes and develops we will provide additional details. Any entry fees submitted for cancelled events will be refunded as quickly as possible.
If you have questions about local/Unit based youth activities, please contact your local VCE office/agents. If you have questions about state level or administered events, please do not hesitate to contact Katherine Carter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-231-2257.
A stockmen’s contest is a comprehensive test of livestock knowledge including identification classes of meats, feeds, equipment and breeds; evaluation classes of meats, hay, sheep, swine, and beef; a knowledge-based quiz; and an applied team problem.
- State Stockmen's Contest
- Block & Bridle Stockmen's Contest
- State Fair of Virginia Skill-a-thons
- Other Extension Sponsored Stockmen's Contests
- Skyline Stockmen's Contest
- Southwest Stockmen's Contest
Livestock judging contests consist of market and breeding animals, including beef, meat goats, sheep, and swine. Participants rank the animals in the classes, answer questions on chosen classes, and deliver sets of oral reasons from memory.
- State 4-H Livestock Judging Contest
- Block & Bridle Livestock Judging Contest
- Other Extension Sponsored Livestock Judging Contests
- Northern District Livestock Judging Contest
Meats judging contests consist of retail meat identification and judging of retail meat cuts and carcasses. Retail meat identification consists of identifying the species, primal cut, retail cut and cookery method. Judging requires the participants to rank the meat in the classes, answer questions on chosen classes, and deliver sets of oral reasons from memory.
Youth Poultry Judging offers youth the ability to rank classes of production hens and market broilers, and give oral reasons from memory on one or two of the classes. They grade ready-to-cook broiler carcasses, turkey carcasses, candled eggs, broken-out eggs and exterior eggs. They are also asked to identify mixed broiler parts.
- State 4-H & State FFA Poultry Judging Contest (held in conjunction with the Youth Poultry Convention)
The youth cattle working contest develops youth skills in animal management and handling. Working as a team, youth efficiently process three stocker calves utilizing Beef Quality Assurance guidelines. Regional competitions are held in the spring throughout the state; the top teams from each region then compete at the State Youth Cattle Working Contest held in conjunction with the Junior Beef Roundup.
The Livestock Quiz Bowl is a competition that tests the knowledge youth possess regarding beef, sheep, swine, and meat goat topics. Teams compete in a single elimination format and use a buzzer to signify that they would like to attempt to answer a question. Oral answers are given to questions posed by a moderator. Each match has an individual, team and toss-up question round.
State Fair of Virginia
A culminating event for youth livestock projects, this event allows youth to exhibit their cattle, sheep, meat goats, and swine and compete in showmanship.
Junior Beef Roundup (Virginia Beef Expo)
The Junior Beef Roundup is held in conjunction with the Virginia Beef Expo. This event is typically held the third weekend in April and features a variety of contests and activities for youth in the Commonwealth. In addition to youth breed shows, commercial heifer, and prospect steer shows, the Junior Beef Roundup will host the State Stockmen's Contest, State Beef Ambassador Contest, and State Youth Cattle Working Contest.
Youth Judging/Stockmen’s Camps
Camps would be offered for youth interested in increasing their knowledge and ability in stockmen’s, meats, and livestock judging. The camps could be one or multiple day events and would offer small-group instruction for youth and coaches.
- July 15- 17, 2019
- Virginia Tech Campus - Blacksburg, VA
- Most events will occur at Alphin-Stuart Livestock Arena
- Virginia Tech Livestock Judging Camp Flyer (pdf)
- 2019 Tentative Schedule of Events
- For more information: Dr. Bain Wilson - (540) 231-5253
Other Youth Educational Camps-Clinics
Camps and clinics would be offered for youth interested in increasing their knowledge within certain areas. These are extension sponsored events held throughout the state for various knowledge areas, such as showmanship, production, nutrition, etc.
Youth for the Quality Care of Animals (YQCA)
Youth for the Quality Care of Animals (YQCA) is a national multi-species quality assurance program for youth ages 8 to 21. An in-person YQCA workshop requires complete attendance. YQCA is the result of a collaborative effort between states that have previously offered multi-species youth livestock quality assurance programs, the National Pork Board’s Youth PQA Plus program and representatives from other national livestock groups. YQCA is designed as an annual education and certification program focused on food safety, animal well-being and character awareness for youth ages 8 to 21 producing and/or showing pigs, beef cattle, dairy cattle, sheep, goats, market rabbits, and poultry. The program has been designed by extension specialists and national livestock program managers to ensure it is accurate, current and relevant to the needs of the animal industry and shows and is appropriate for youth.
Youth Poultry Convention
The Youth Poultry Convention offers both competition and education for those attending. Youth rank classes of production hens and give oral reasons from memory on one of the classes. They grade ready-to-cook broiler carcasses, turkey carcasses, candled eggs, broken-out eggs and exterior eggs. They are also asked to identify mixed broiler parts. The competitions are followed by fun and educational events including a youth poultry carnival for juniors and job shadowing and production tours for seniors. In 2016, youth educational tracks were available to all participants featuring a Live Production Track, Post-Production Track, Consumer Advocacy Track, and a Food Challenge Track. more>>
- Meat Goats
- Carcass Information
- Meats Judging
- Livestock Judging
- Stockmen's Contest
- Quiz Bowl
- 4-H Member Record Book - Novice
- 4-H Member Record Book - Experienced Junior
- 4-H Member Record Book - Experienced Senior
Beef Heifer Project
- Virginia 4-H Beef Heifer Project Junior Record Book
- Virginia 4-H Beef Heifer Project Senior Record Book
Market Beef Project
- Virginia 4-H Market Beef Project Junior Record Book
- Virginia 4-H Market Beef Project Senior Record Book
Market Goat Project
- Virginia 4-H Market Goat Project Junior Record Book
- Virginia 4-H Market Goat Project Senior Record Book
Market Hog Project
- Virginia 4-H Market Hog Project Junior Record Book
- Virginia 4-H Market Hog Project Senior Record Book
Market Lamb Project
- Virginia 4-H Market Lamb Project Junior Record Book
- Virginia 4-H Market Lamb Project Senior Record Book
Sheep Flock Project
Virginia 4-H Livestock Programs Endowment
The Virginia 4-H Foundation is spearheading the advancement of the Virginia 4-H Youth Livestock Programs Endowment. 4-H livestock programming is funded through a combination of private gifts, endowment income, gifts in kind, and participant fees.